Where to begin? Seriously...where to begin? This is just one man's opinion but I've seen enough to know this Eagles team needs a Bane-like blow up to be fixed.
Let’s start with the defense.
Since the Super Bowl and giving up 600 plus yards in that game, they have been awful! The talent on that side of the ball is both atrocious and overrated! Do we really need to hear an analyst comparing Cox to Donald and Watt anymore? Cox has made Pro Bowls on name recognition alone. Yes, he is still formidable, but yes, he takes plays and games off. The D line, the highest salaried part of our team includes the aforementioned Cox ($17 mill), a mistake signing in Javon Hargrave ($13 mill), an undisciplined, and also oft-absent, Malik Jackson ($10 mill), and an aging Brandon Graham ($13 mill), and essentially a bust in Derek Barnett ($3 mill and probably gone).
Our linebackers are borderline starters for an SEC team, not even viable in the NFL! It is beyond time to re-evaluate the philosophy at this position!
Other than Darius Slay, do I even need to mention the secondary? Slay at $16.6 million is skilled, but clearly not worth that salary! He has been both respectable, and god awful! At that salary, awful cannot be mentioned in a sentence, even if your assignments are Metcalf, Hopkins, and Thomas. The safeties are a mess! You have a slow, poor tackling, non cerebral, former corner in Mills, taking the role of Malcolm Jenkins! Now you have an injured Rodney McLeod, who already was slow, and who is now in rehab. mode. Our other main corner is the often injured Avonte Maddox, small and mediocre, and do I even have to list the rest?
Time to Get Offensive:
On the other side of the ball, nothing but question marks!
Our soap opera at QB, will be the entire offseason talk. Neither Carson or Jalen inspire long term stability in my opinion. I could make arguments for both as the starter or the backup, as the one to be traded for assets, or the one to keep?
Our offensive line is old, and my frequently used term... often injured. Brooks and Johnson, arguably the best at their positions, are again, often hurt. Seumalo is just average at best, and was a forced starter based on his draft status. Kelce, who was the one stable piece this year, is aging and clearly is on the decline. Are we even sure he will return? Retirement planning is always part of his off-season. Mailata was a nice surprise, and Dillard, once done crying over his injury, and “tough love coaching”, hopefully will add depth and competition to left tackle? The depth guys, Herbig, Driscoll, Opeta, Toth, and Pryor, are all just that, depth. If Pryor is still on this team, I’ll be shocked!
Our Wide Receiving corps has been the topic in this town for 3 years now, and truthfully, since Maclin, and DeSean act 1 . We can cry over not having Metcalf, and Jefferson, but who we do have is not inspiring! I will not include Jackson and Jeffrey as part of this crew. My hope is they are gone based on age and body decline. Reagor has been beyond disappointing. His route running has been poor, his effort going after the ball has been embarrassing, and his hands look suspect. Hightower, and Watkins are projects that have speed and weren't expected to be contributing members this season. However, without solid coaching, I do not see any of these three being impactful players in the near future. Dare I mention the misuse, and now probable lack of value the organization puts in Fulgham? Greg Ward is nice, but a 5th receiver on most teams! You have to wonder if our crew were plugged onto the Steelers and practiced day in and day out with them, could they be Diontae Johnson, Chase Claypool, or James Washington? Imagine those 3 on our squad? I bet the farm, they are just “guys” here! Coaching is so important!
Our running backs are also a concern. Not necessarily because of their skillset, but because of their inexcusable and mystifying lack of use! How Sanders does not get 20 touches a game is beyond me! Have Scott, Howard, Clement, et. al. on this team, I do not care, but utilize Sanders better, and sprinkle in the others! Did I mention coaching?
Let’s talk about special teams. They have been beyond disappointing for years! Jake Elliott has been beyond inconsistent, and because of his ridiculous salary, he cannot be cut! Thanks Howie!
Cameron Johnston has been a very good punter. I have no issue here!
We did have that punt return TD from Reagor, but other than that, nothing electrifying for years! And if I recall, after that return, Ward was back for most of the punt returns thereafter?! Also, how many punts were not caught and wound up pinning the offense back inside the ten yard line! WTF! How many of you reading this were like me, begging for a fake punt, now and then? Birds near midfield, 4th and 4, and never a sniff at a fake! Yet, it was successfully done to us multiple times! Dave Fipp, a coach I once loved, now has to go!
Offensive line coach…
Jeff Stoutland can stay. By all accounts he is one of the most well respected coaches at his position. The million machinations we’ve had at the offensive line cannot be put at his feet. I am hopeful he will make Herbig, Driscoll and Dillard solid professionals? Some of the others on this roster are just awful talents! Even Stoutland cannot put lipstick on a pig, and expect results!
Wide Receiver Coach…
Aaron Moorehead...who the hell knows if he should stay? We have had revolving coaches at this spot for years. If poor route running, poor hands, inability to fight press coverage is on coaching, then bye bye Aaron. How can this not be taught over and over! However, the lipstick on a pig analogy comes to mind once again!
Running Back Coach…
I am so sick of people saying Deuce Staley should be our offensive coordinator! Are you kidding me! He has been in “the room” so long, I do not want to hear his voice either. Sorry, guilt by association! Deuce is in charge of the running back rotation. It is partly, if not mostly on him we see so little of Sanders. I’m sorry, if we keep Doug and clean house, I’m fine with Deuce leaving.
Scangarello, Taylor, Mornhinweg, and again, Staley, all can go! If they contributed to this pathetic, and predictable offense, I’ll drive them to the airport myself.
Jim is gone it appears! I’m glad. Again, reference the Super Bowl and beyond in the opening of this piece. Now the question is do they keep the system in place and hire within, i.e. Matt Burke? HELL NO! This system sucks! The system that has corners giving such cushions, that a grandmother will get a first down! The system that teaches cornerbacks or safeties to never look back for the ball! The system that rarely blitzes! A system that is a bend but don’t break defense! The system that doesn’t teach wrapping with your arms! Not in this town!!
Is Ken Flajole a bad coach? Did I reference “lipstick on a pig yet?”
Defensive back coaches…
Tim Hauck and Marquand Manuel. Did I reference...never mind!
The entire piece thus far is the quintessential chicken or the egg conversation. Is the talent so poor, that Lombardi, Landry, Shula, and Knoll would fail? Or should decent coaching make these kids better?
Rasual Douglas, Sidney Jones, Chandon Sullivan, and Nelson Agholor to name a few, have been solid and then some this year for other teams. So is it the chicken or the egg? Or are these coaches just turkeys!
Doug Pederson was befuddling his rookie year. Truly a babe in the woods. However, first year, growing pains, new system, rookie QB, etc. Let's give him some slack. Year 2 obviously cannot be overlooked...something about a Super Bowl. What was amazing to me was not that we won, it is that we won without so many key players! Our key corner, Ronald Darby missed the first half of the season. Our most versatile running back, Darren Sproles out after the 3rd game! Our best special teams player, Chris Maragos, out after week 6! Our stud middle linebacker, Jordan Hicks, and our all world left tackle, Jason Peters out in the same game, week 7! Finally, the death knell, losing Carson week 13.
Nope, we just kept on marching forward, next man up, and won the whole damn thing! I have to give Doug credit, not just for holding the team together among all this carnage, but he did have a high scoring, fun offense on display as well!
Then 2018-present. Both in 17’ and 18’, we started off slow, and had it not been for a horrible division, we never would have gotten into the playoffs at 9-7 both years. In the 2018 postseason, and the false hope of “if Alshon doesn’t drop the ball”, could we have done it again? I’ll simply answer, “double doink”! Then last year, and again, only getting in because of our division, and a quick, yet controversial playoff exit. “If Carson didn’t have that cheap shop...” We still lose to Russell Wilson! Stop it! THIS YEAR! Despite my glowing remarks of Doug during the Super Bowl year, I have to say it was an outlier. Many have argued that Frank Reich had as much to do with that ring as Doug? Regardless, the team has not been ready to play in countless games over the past 3 years-Many big games, that left us scratching our heads. The offense has not changed, and in fact, has gotten so predictable, so vanilla, Breyers now calls their ice cream Doug’s Offense! I also have been very frustrated with his beyond inexplicable stubbornness with his personnel. I am convinced the media, and fans got Paul Turner into the lineup in 2018, and got Mack Hollins released, and JJAW benched after having a combined zero catches for weeks on end! Not to mention the media and fans once again crying for Greg Ward to get action, and him finally getting into the lineup, and he instantly was the best receiver on the team! To the whole Travis Fulgham fiasco, and lack of utilizing Miles Sanders this year.
Doug often does well with his scripted plays! However, unlike good coaches, he does not repeat the plays in different formations, forcing the opposition to adjust! He just becomes confused, and lacks the attention to game flow, and cannot adjust on the fly!
Finally, is he to blame for creating the Carson disaster with poor coaching? Or worse, if not responsible for his awful play, is he culpable for not salvaging the season sooner, by benching him earlier? Then the quick optimism of Jalen Hurts after 2 plus starts, to his sudden regression, when he was 25 for 56 over his last 20 drives, with a 44.6 completion percentage, and 41.2 quarterback rating (courtesy Emmanuel Acho)! This speaks to Doug’s offense, his coaching staff’s lack of player development, which essentially falls on Doug! He doesn’t hold people accountable! Or when he did with Carson, it was too late.
My vote, move on from them all, and start anew! Tear it all down!